Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your
only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so
we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by
Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer, p. 239
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord
The Presentation in the Temple is an early episode in the life of Jesus, describing his presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem in reference to the instruction in theTorah that every firstborn son, forty days after his birth, had to be dedicated to God in memory of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt. Mary and Joseph’s presentation of their son is described in chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel. Within the account, “Luke’s narration of the Presentation in the Temple combines the purification rite with the Jewish ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn.
Today’s feast is also known as Candlemas, the day when the candles for the entire church year would be blessed. In the northern hemisphere today is also considered the last cold day of winter. Today is also known as Groundhog Day. If the day is clear and the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If no shadow is seen, then the expectation is for more moderate weather in the weeks ahead.
Sailors are often reluctant to set sail on this day, believing that any voyage begun today will end in disaster.
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
We remember people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, especially refugees and all victims of violence and oppression.
For the just and proper use of your creation: for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.
For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus: for physicians, nurses, and all others who minister to the sick and the suffering, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.
For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety.
For all historical acts of injustice and oppression: especially those perpetuated against native, Black, Hispanic and various Asian Americans in this abundant land, that we may recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action.
For those on the Parish Prayer Chain: Ben, Warren, Cindi, Doug, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, June, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Donald K., Craig, Donald, Joseph, Lorraine.
For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
For our Government Leaders: Joseph Biden, President of the United States; Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady.
For our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, William Love, and Daniel Herzog our bishops; James and Dennie our priests; Pat our deacon emeritus and Allison our Lay Reader.
For those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.
For Members who request our prayers for strength and healing: Dave, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Dan – today is his birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Aluakluak – The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (Eastern Bahr el Ghazal Province).
For all who have died: Edwin, Lee, Olive, Helen, Edna.
For one another.
Something to share
A Song for Simeon
Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.
Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have taken and given honour and ease.
There went never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house,
where shall live my children’s children
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.
Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.
According to thy word,
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.T.S. Eliot
News and Updates
Episcopal Relief & Development 2020 Disaster Response – 2020 brought us a global pandemic, ravaging fires and an extremely active hurricane season in the US. The Episcopal Church rose to the occasion and saw opportunities to reach people on the margins. Episcopal Relief & Development partnered with Episcopal dioceses around the country to address food insecurity, provide PPE and other supplies in their communities, leveraging existing assets like gardens, kitchens and relationships with local organizations. Together, we restocked church food pantries, provided mental-health first aid training and ensured safe and secure housing for displaced families.
Diocesan disaster response and recovery partnerships in 2020:
East Carolina, Mississippi, Central Florida, Eastern Oregon, Tennessee, Missouri, Arizona, South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, San Diego, Ohio, Western Louisiana, Southern Virginia, Indianapolis, West Texas, Texas, El Camino Real, California, Northern California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Spokane, Olympia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Navajoland, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and North Carolina.
If you have an update/news, a prayer or poem or something inspirational you would like us to share with the congregation, please send it to us. Please also send us any prayer requests. We will incorporate these into the Morning Prayers as best we can: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning. Join Dennie and me for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact Becky for the link: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer.
Our church campus is only partially open due to the current pandemic. Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.
Our office email is: email@example.com.
Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected in this time of isolation.
Share this news, and spread some love, not the virus!
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine upon your face,
he rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Be of good courage. We are in this together, and we will be together again soon. God bless you and may God be with us in the days ahead.